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The University of Washington Medicine (UWM) in Seattle has agreed to settle charges that it potentially violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) by failing to implement policies and procedures to prevent, detect, contain, and correct security violations. The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) reports that the settlement should underscore the necessity of conducting organization-wide risk analysis.
The settlement includes a monetary payment of $750,000, a corrective action plan, and annual reports on the organization’s compliance efforts.
OCR initiated its investigation of UWM following receipt of a breach report on Nov. 27, 2013, which indicated that the electronic protected health information (PHI) of approximately 90,000 individuals was accessed after an employee downloaded an email attachment that contained malware. OCR’s investigation indicated UWM’s security policies required its affiliated entities to have up-to-date, documented system-level risk assessments and to implement safeguards in compliance with the Security Rule.